The One Thing
by INXS

Album: Shabooh Shoobah (1982)
Charted: 30
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Songfacts®:

  • Written by guitarist Andy Farriss and lead singer Michael Hutchence, this song is about having a girl who is beautiful and confident, with lots of men after her. It was the first song by this Australian group to make an impact in the United States, setting the groundwork for their international success in the mid-1980s.

    The song hit the charts as the band embarked on their first tour of America, first as the opener for Adam and the Ants, then as the support act for The Go-Go's (there was lots of intermingling on this tour - the bands' managers had to stay in contact to determine the whereabouts of their members). By the end of the tour, "The One Thing" had picked up steam and so did the band - at the US Festival in California, INXS earned an encore when they played on May 28, 1983.
  • With their photogenic frontman, INXS was a great fit for MTV. When the network started playing the video for this song, it gave them a huge boost and propelled the single onto the charts. The video was a strange one, but so was just about everything on MTV at the time, since there was no established protocol for the process and the network favored clips that were quirky and/or outrageous (beautiful people also helped). Regarding the video, INXS bass player Tim Farriss said in the book I Want My MTV: "We fed Valium to a few cats and had them running around a table while we had a feast with sexy models and Playboy centerfolds, ripping apart a turkey. Next thing we knew, we had a Top 40 hit in America."
  • The chorus is just eight words:

    It's the one thing
    You are my thing


    According to the song's co-writer, Andrew Farriss, that was all it needed. Speaking of Michael Hutchence as a songwriter, he told Songfacts: "He was very, very comfortable to sing those kinds of phrases, and he had the conviction to sing a phrase like that and repeat it, no problem. It wasn't because he was short of dialogue or creativity or because he couldn't think of extra words. In fact, one of the things I always noted with Michael as a lyricist was when he felt he had nothing more to say, he wouldn't say anything more than that, and I always appreciated that. He wouldn't try to justify his lyric, and I think there's a strength in that. Once he had a phrase or something that he felt was poignant or important to say, that was enough."

Comments: 2

  • Jammer777 from Fort Worth, TexasI believe this song is about a couple who don't have much in common except sex. The lyrics indicate that they don't really talk and that's a problem (the danger) but at least they have, "The One Thing" that keeps them together. He says tenderly, "You are my thing," so it's not all bad. He also implies that she has had a lot of lovers with the line about dead flowers all over the floor which also indicates a sexual nature.
  • Dusk Blackman from Albany, Georgia (u.s.a.)I first heard this song on MTV when I was in Honolulu, Hawaii summer of 1983. he was so young. who was to know that he would turn out to be a legend in his own right.
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